Choosing the right accountant is one of the most important decisions a small business can make. A good one can save you time and help your business grow; a bad one could cost you much needed money. Yet with thousands to choose from, it can be a daunting call to make.
Why should I hire you?
Hiring an accountant can be “even more important” than taking on a member of staff. If you get the wrong person, you can miss out on things you should know and that can be very costly.
The key thing to query during the hiring process is how an accountant will add financial value to your company. Look for someone who can act as a business partner. You want them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge of supporting a small business.
First, what are their qualifications, and are they regulated by a professional body?
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Could my money work harder?
Most people believe an accountant will just be looking after annual accounts and tax compliance. However, that’s only a small portion of what a good accountant can – and should – be doing for you.
A good accountant can help you raise capital by finding grants, government funding pots, and tax relief schemes. They can help you sell shares in the business, crowdfund or find angel investment. People tend to say, can you balance my books? What they should be asking is: what am I entitled to that I don’t know about?
Are we a good match?
The right accountant will have more than just prestige – it’s important they understand small business needs, and are able to offer relevant insight.
Small businesses can be naïve about their requirements, citing research by Experian that recently found 59% of start-up directors are running a company for the first time. That’s why it’s so important to ask an accountant if they work with small businesses, or have expertise in your sector.